Five Thoughts: Blue Jackets Drop Crucial Game 5 In Overtime Despite Strongest Performance of Playoffs

By Dan Dukart on April 21, 2018 at 6:43 pm
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Two Matt Calvert goals weren't enough to overcome the Washington Capitals, as the Blue Jackets fell in overtime by a score of 4-3. Here are five key takeaways from the tough loss.

Special Teams... Not So Special

The Blue Jackets started this series capitalizing on their power play opportunities. Through the first two games, they scored on four of their eight chances. Weird, they won both games! Since then, it's been a disaster. They went 0/4 in Game 3, 0/3 in Game 4, and 0/5 in Game 5. The pressure is on for the team to get that fixed, and stat.

But wait, there's more! The other half of special teams is the penalty kill. With another power play goal in Game 5, the Capitals have scored eight power play goals in 24 opportunities (33.3%). 

Between giving up a power play goal and failing to score on their five opportunities, it's incredibly easy to draw a line between special teams failings and the final outcome.

Fluky Sport

NBC's Eddie Olczyk echoed something I found myself thinking, when he said in the post-game show that the Blue Jackets' two most complete games in the playoffs - Games 3 and 5 - resulted in losses. Go figure.

The Blue Jackets out-shot the Capitals 16-1 in the third period, and could have easily won this game before overtime. John Tortorella acknowledged that they played well, but wouldn't come out and say that they deserved a better fate.

This isn't exactly unprecedented. The Blue Jackets won Game 2 in Washington, despite getting out-shot 58-30. Bosa Shrug.

Holy Goalies

Lots to unpack here. First, Sergei Bobrovsky has shut up a lot of critics (raises hand) with his play in this series, and he was in no way responsible for the loss.

Meanwhile, Braden Holtby played simply outstanding. He, like Bobrovsky, has a lot to prove in these playoffs. He didn't start in Games 1 or 2, but has been dynamic since being reinserted into the lineup. 

Both goalies were excellent in Game 5.

Welcome Back Wennberg

Alexander Wennberg did a lot of good in his first game back in the lineup since a Tom Wilson hit knocked him out of Game 1. 

He played with confidence, and had an incredible play on the game-tying goal in the third period.

Most importantly, Wennberg's play stabilizes the other lines. This team is already razor-thin at the center position, and looked like a much more potent team with Wennberg in the lineup.

Matty Clutch

Matt Calvert had nine goals in 69 regular season games, yet has three already in just five playoff games. It's his second career multi-goal game.

Calvert is the longest tenured Blue Jacket player and a clear fan favorite. He nearly completed what would have been the franchise's first ever playoff hat-trick, but he's already cemented his status in Blue Jackets playoff lore with his uncanny ability to raise his game so dramatically in the playoffs.

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